Saturday, April 17, 2010

20Dec1872, High Jinks and Thoughts on the Prince

CHATSWORTH, Friday, December 20th, 1872.
—Nothing daunted by the inveterate clammy fog and occasional actual rain, we went about 30 strong to luncheon at Haddon : P. and Pss. in an open carriage. Bakewell very enthusiastic and a little drunk. The luncheon a fine sight in the grand old hall ; band playing and spectators peering overhead in the gallery ; the Royal couple and a select few at a high table cross-wise with the two that ran down the hall ; all seated in old carved Haddon chairs. The loving-cup of spiced ale went round with all the honours.

At night, billiards, music, and a round game. Our Queen of Hearts was a sight never to be forgotten for grace and liveliness and fun as she whisked round the billiard-table like any dragon-fly, playing at "pockets" ; punishing the table when she missed, and finally breaking her mace across Ly. Cowper's back with a sudden little whack. Likewise at bed-time, high jinks with all the ladies in the corridors ; and yet through all one has a sense of perfect womanly dignity, and a certainty that no one cd ever go an inch too far with her. She can gather up her beautiful bright stateliness at any moment. 0, bless her for a vision of enchantment ! In the midst of the evening performances I managed to give her a really fine ode just sent me by Mr. Palgrave, the author thereof, on the Prince's recovery. I hope she will like it as much as I do. Of the said Prince I have less to say. He does not get on with me, nor indeed much with any but chaffy, fast people, though always kind and delightful in manner like most of 'em : he is amiable and truthful, and has sense and good feeling ; my conviction is that, when he succeeds to the Throne and has duties to do, he will do far better than now seems likely ; but the melancholy thing is that neither he nor the darling Prss. ever care to open a book.

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